If hardly a classic, Diane (1956), is a rousing big budget MGM romantic swashbuckler. Naturally given his track record with the studio – everything from Quo Vadis (1950) and Knights of the Round Table (1953) to Young Bess (1953) and The King's Thief (1955) - scoring duties fell to that master of the period drama, Miklós Rózsa. A tale of passion, intrigue and adventure in the French court of the 16th century, central to Rózsa's score is his noble, elegant theme for Diane (Lana Turner) herself, around which, typically for the composer, he weaves a rich tapestry of supplementary themes. The 'Diane' theme become somewhat popular as 'Beauty and Grace' and is fairly well known from various compilation albums, including those recorded by Rózsa himself in the 1970's for Polydor, but there is much more to enjoy here. There are bold brass fanfares and ceremonial passages indicative of the Court, tender writing for violin and harpsichord for more romantic sequences, and melodies drawn from a courtly dance tradition summoning the character of the time and place. A cue such as 'Pastoral / Gaillarde' serves as a fine example of the diversity of the writing, the setting of Diane's theme having a fatalistic tenderness which inevitably surrenders to the more superfical, formal public music of the social elite.
If in over 70 minutes of music we hear Diane's theme rather frequently, at least Miklós Rózsa proves once again such a fine composer to constantly dress his melody in appealing clothes, and offers further diversity in a solo organ cue such as 'Wedding Rehearsal'. 'Royal Hunt' presents a thrilling march leading to the striking action set-piece 'Wild Boar', while later cues become increasingly dark hued in their romantic passion – 'Jealousy' looks forward to the composer's soon to follow Biblical epics. As the drama approaches to its finale bright jousting fanfares jostle with tense suspense writing and mystical choral passages, which today may sound somewhat hackneyed, though which were fresh and original when penned. While the drama concludes in tragedy, with a 'Requiem' for 12 boy singers (of somewhat uncertain intonation and pitch) and organ, the film and score end with a superbly crafted, heart-tugging, ultimately glorious statement of the main theme. Disc one ends with a lovely version of the 'Diane' melody not used in the film and arranged for piano and violin. The stereo sound is excellent for a 1956 recording, with just a little distortion on a few peaks.
Disc 2 is very much a tidying up exercise divided into four sections. As the FSM pess release notes, "disc two features alternate cues as well as source music and skeletal "pre-records." Filling out disc two are additional and alternate cues from two other Rózsa historical works: Moonfleet (1955, FSMCD Vol. 6, No. 20) and Plymouth Adventure (1952, FSMCD Vol. 6, No. 1), which would not fit on their earlier FSM editions. This 2CD album thus "closes the book" not only on Diane, but on Moonfleet and Plymouth Adventure."
Indeed, though the album itself describes the first 42 minutes of disc two as an 'Alternate Score' to Diane, the material is per the press release, really an extensive collection of different versions of score cues. Many of the items are very similar indeed to those on the first disc, being generally either a little shorter, longer or featuring minor changes in orchestration or linking material. There's really little here to excite anyone other than the most obsessive of completists, or perhaps someone making a serious, detailed academic study of the development of the score.
Next is a collection of 10 source cues from Diane, a useful assemblage of mostly dance and lute music which adds some additional flavour to the score. The mono material from Plymouth Adventure is simply a bookkeeping exercise, while Moonfleet is represented by two attractive guitar improvisations performed with flair by Vincente Gomez, and a pre-record of a 'Bourée'.
A typically through and immaculately presented release of a notable, though perhaps more repetitive than usual, score in a great composer's career. The second disc is largely for completists.
Music Composed and Conducted by Miklós Rózsa
Total Disc Time: 71:39
- Pre-Prelude/Prelude/Post-Prelude 2:38
- Decision/Change of Mind 1:32
- Royal Chambers 3:18
- Home Again/Dejected 0:49
- Royal Command/Royal Palace 4:04
- Pastorale/Gaillarde 2:00
- Consternation/Wedding Rehearsal/Reality 2:37
- Cortege 3:23
- Warning 3:03
- Diana/Peephole/Hate 5:40
- Crystal Ball 2:32
- Prophecy/Bugle/Royal Hunt/Wild Boar 3:24
- Desperate Ride/Fanfare to Forgiveness/Forgiveness/For King and Country/Viva la Guerra March/Love Letter 4:37
- King's Return/Souvenirs/Death of Francis I 4:36
- Suspicion 2:27
- Confession/Revelation 1:54
- Jealousy 1:04
- Banquet Music/Forbidden Fruit 2:01
- Lists/Knights and Horses/First Jousting Fanfare/Second Jousting Fanfare/Third Jousting Fanfare/Fourth Jousting Fanfare 1:31
- Lance/Cage of Gold/Revenge 4:13
- Last Journey 2:16
- Requiem 1:47
- Retribution/Private Audience 1:27
- Finale/End Cast 5:07
- Diane (piano and violin) 2:40
Diane Alternate Score
Total Time: 42:06
- Prelude/King's Messenger/Riding 4:45
- Royal Command/Royal Palace 4:13
- Reality 1:19
- Warning 2:09
- Diana/Peephole/Hate 5:39
- Bugle/Royal Hunt/Wild Boar 3:46
- For King and Country/Viva La Guerra March 0:58
- Death of Francis I 2:25
- Suspicion 2:18
- Revelation (alternate #1) 1:10
- Revelation (alternate #2) 1:09
- Lists/Fifth Jousting Fanfare/Revenge 2:59
- Last Journey 2:05
- Retribution/Private Audience 1:32
- Finale/End Cast 5:07
Diane Source Cues
Total Time: 15:34
- Royal Gardens 2:35
- Royal Gardens (alternate) 2:09
- Love Song 2:21
- Pavane du Rois 0:16
- Gaillarde (pre-record version) 1:28
- Pavane (pre-record version) 2:13
- Chanson Populaire 0:19
- Banquet Music (pre-record version) 1:35
- Requiem (film version) 0:45
- Fanfare for Cortege (pre-record version) 1:27
Plymouth Adventure Alternate Cues
Total Time: 7:48
- Prelude (Psalm 136) (album version) 1:47
- Greensleeves (alternate) 1:13
- Old Hundred (alternates) 1:40
- Plymouth Rock/Confess Jehovah 3:00
Moonfleet Additional Cues
Total Time: 12:10
- Guitar Improvisations (Vicente Gomez) 3:56
- Gypsy Dance (Vicente Gomez) 5:30
- Bouree (pre-record version) 2:42
Total Disc Time: 77:43
FSM Press Release
Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music
Diane de Poitiers (1499-1566) was the sophisticated mistress of King Henri II of France, who virtually supplanted the Queen for a period of the French Renaissance. In 1956 M-G-M mounted a lavish feature film of her pivotal years, scripted by the formidable author, Christopher Isherwood. Diane was played by Lana Turner, with a young Roger Moore cast as Henri, and colorful faces in the roles of the French and Italian royalty who turn the plot.
Key to M-G-M's grand, historical style was composer Miklos Rozsa, who scored so many costume dramas for the studio: Ivanhoe, Knights of the Round Table (FSMCD Vol. 6, No. 7), Young Bess, and Moonfleet (FSMCD Vol. 6, No. 20), among many others. Diane features manly activities calling for robust, symphonic scoring in the style of Rozsa's adventure music, but it is essentially Diane's tale of the heart: a woman who resists true love for the good of her kingdom. Rozsa responded with a gorgeous melody representing her grace, nobility and romantic yearning; the theme was in fact called 'Beauty and Grace' in a popular arrangement.
As was customary for the composer, Rozsa provided Diane with a host of secondary themes, from regal fanfares for the King; to an austere theme for Diane's unloving husband; to darting, menacing motives for the treacherous Italians; to shimmering, choral mysticism for the story's "prophecy" component. He provided French dances for the film's source music, although the score itself concerns the timeless human drama, and is vividly carried by Rozsa symphonic style. It is the kind of score that made fans want to listen to the music -- which only took 48 years to happen!
Although not a long score per se, Rozsa recorded so many alternate versions for Diane that it is being released as a 2CD set. Disc one features the score proper, while disc two features alternate cues as well as source music and skeletal "pre-records." Filling out disc two are additional and alternate cues from two other Rozsa historical works: Moonfleet (1955, FSMCD Vol. 6, No. 20) and Plymouth Adventure (1952, FSMCD Vol. 6, No. 1), which would not fit on their earlier FSM editions. This 2CD album thus "closes the book" not only on Diane, but on Moonfleet and Plymouth Adventure.
The release is by and large in stereo, save for certain source tracks, as well as the Plymouth Adventure material, which was recorded in mono.